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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  May 30, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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05/30/14 05/30/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! engaged in a review of reforms to our enforcement priorities, and the president has asked me to wait for reasons that i agree before announcing those reforms to give the house of representatives the opportunity this summer to act on conference of immigration reform. >> the obama administration explaining why it is continuing its record number of deportations.
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it doesn't want to antagonize republicans. we will get reaction from pablo alvarado of the national day laborers organizing network, and speak with aviva chomsky, author of the new book, "undocumented: how immigration became illegal." then part two of our interview with the famed essayist ta-nehisi coates about his explosive new atlantic magazine essay, "the case for reparations." it is being credited for rekindling a national debate on reparations for american slavery and institutional racism. to the myth lie that african-americans who act right, who are respectable, you know, are somehow therefore immune to the plunder that is symptomatic of white supremacy in this country. it does not matter. there is no bettering yourself that will get you out of it. >> all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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the nsa has released an e-mail sent by edward snowden to its office of general counsel claiming it is the only e-mail snowden sent to supervisors before leaking documents and agency spying. in the e-mail, snowden raised questions about whether executive orders supersede federal laws. the release came after snowden told brian williams he had raised concerns through multiple channels. >> the nsa has records, they have copies of e-mails right now to their office of general counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks, from me raising concerns about the nsa's interpretation of legal authorities. now i had raised these complaints not just officially in writing through e-mail to these offices and these individuals, but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office. ,nd the response, more or less was, you should stop asking questions. "theward snowden told
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washington post" his correspondence extended far beyond the single e-mail released by the nsa. to --ed the white house in ukraine, newly elected president petro poroshenko has vowed to take action against pro-russian rebels who shot down a ukrainian army helicopter near the eastern city killing 14 soldiers. the army has been seeking to oust the rebels from eastern areas where they have taken control. the tensions come as representatives from ukraine, russia, and the european union meet in berlin today to address a gas dispute. russia has threatened to cut off the gas supply to ukraine if it fails to make a payment by monday. one third of europe's gas comes
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from russia, about half that supply passes through ukraine. in egypt, presidential candidate hamdeen sabahi has conceded the race to former military general sisi who ousted president mohammed morsi in a coup last year. officials said 47% of eligible voters participated in the election, which saw sisi take 95% of votes. question thei claims on turnout. the democratic seen in these elections had breaches and losses of neutrality. i'm saying this with responsible conscience to love in this country, a son of this country, and a man who loves egyptian people, that we cannot give any credibility or believed to the numbers announced regarding the participation. >> international election observers agreed egypt's election had failed to meet democratic standards, citing an
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environment of repression by the military backed regime. the cia's drone program in pakistan has reportedly been winding down with no strikes reported there since december. the associated press cites unnamed u.s. officials who attribute the pause to a range of factors, including new rules to prevent civilian casualties and the deaths of top al qaeda leaders. drones in pakistan are flown from bases that would be closed under obama's newly announced plan to pull nearly all u.s. troops from afghanistan by 2016. but for now, the drones are still flying over accident. argentina has reached a landmark deal with a group of creditor nations to repay its long-standing debt without the involvement of the international monetary fund. argentina is still trying to recover from a massive economic crisis and default more than a decade ago, which followed years of neoliberal reforms backed by the imf and the world bank. argentine president hailed the
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deal to pay the paris club $9.7 billion. it is the first time in the history of the paris club a country in our condition has negotiate with a multilateral body without the intervention of international monetary fund. and without giving up the autonomy that a sovereign country should havd. when we are allowed to grow and develop our own overseas and generate jobs and implement, conditions exist to honor one's commitments and take charge. we are not serial debtors. the international financial capitalists are serial editors, not just on our economy, but many economies in the world. forart of argentina's plan economic recovery involves opening its vast shale reserves to foreign oil and gas firms. veterans affairs secretary eric shinseki is facing continued pressure to resign following more revelations of health care flaws. he defended himself before
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lawmakers thursday, day after an inspector general's review found via a officials across the system had falsified records to hide lengthy wait times for appointments. in one case reported by the associated press, a veteran in arizona sought care for skin lesion and was told it could take two years to see a dermatologist. when he sought outside care, he learned he had cancer. hass. army staff sergeant been accused of sexually assaulting a dozen female soldiers over the past three years. "the washington post" reports staff sergeant angel sanchez could face a court-martial for allegedly using his position as a drill sergeant to threaten victims, in one case, grabbing a female soldier by the hair and forcing her to perform oral sex. the pentagon received more than 5000 sexual assault reports last year, a 50% increase over the previous year. the obama administration is set to unveil new regulations on coal-fired power plants monday
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in a bid to address the top u.s. source of carbon that is fueling global warming. congressional republicans have criticized the rules. house speaker boehner responded to reporters question about climate change thursday. to debate qualified the science over climate change. but i am a student enough to understand that every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing american jobs. that can't be the prescription of revealing -- dealing with changes in our climate. ship hopeace says its is blocking the arrival of a an oil rig in the arctic by occupying the area where the company statoil is seeking to drill the world's northernmost well. on thursday, norwegian authorities removed a group of greenpeace activists who had occupied the oil rig for two days. in canada, the french company total sa has halted an $11
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billion tar sands oil mine project in alberta, citing high costs. in texas, attorney general greg abbott has said the state can conceal the source of execution drugs, marking a reversal of his previous stance. officials in a number of states have hidden the names of lightly regulated compounding pharmacies which are supplying the drugs, and a botched execution in oklahoma last month involved drugs from a secret source. texans for public justice note that ahead of his decision, attorney general abbott received 350,000 dollars in campaign donations from the owner of a compounding pharmacy to help him defeat democratic senate gubernatorial candidate wendy davis in the race for governor. while that facility is not believed be the state's source for lethal drugs, the owner leads an industry pac and is part of a trade group that has sold materials for execution drugs.
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a texas prisoner has filed a lawsuit against wichita county, saying her baby died after she was forced to give birth in solitary confinement without medical care. nicole guerrero went into labor robbing held in a drug possession charge in 2012. she says a nurse ignored her pleas for help and did attempt to revive her baby after she was born. she did not attempt to revive her baby after she was born with the umblical cord wrapped around her neck. according to the "wichita times" record, the nurses license expired months before the incident. in a report says the severity of violence against lgbt people increased last year. the national coalition of anti-violence programs recorded more than 2000 late incidents in 2013, but the same number as the previous year. there were 18 anti-lgbt homicides in 2013, including three in new york city alone. 89% of the order victims were people of color, 72% were transgender women. president obama has called for
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improved research and protocols in youths concussions sports. he said he likely suffered a concussion when he was young. >> before the awareness was out there when i was young and played football briefly, there were a couple of times where i am sure that the ringing sensation in my head and the need to sit down for a while might have been about a concussion. at the time, you didn't think anything of it. improved today, but not by much. so the total number of young people who are impacted by this early on is probably bigger than we know. >> in new mexico, not tops report shows a homeless man killed by albuquerque police at a campsite was shot in the back. the shooting of james boyd sparked protests in a federal investigation after helmet cam video from the police showed boyd apparently surrending before police opened fire.
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boyd was shot three times -- in the lower back and in each of his upper arms. last month, the justice department found most fatal shootings by albuquerque police were unconstitutional. since the review's release, albuquerque police have fatally shot three more people. ulmer microsoft ceo steve has reached a deal to buy the los angeles clippers ask about team for a record $2 billion after owner donald sterling was an from the nba for making racist comments. sterling's estranged wife reached the deal with ballmer, which now goes to the league for approval. in new jersey, the newspaper reports nearly all state employees tasked with honing and promoting the image of republican governor chris paystie have received raises averaging 23% in recent months, despite budget shortfalls. some of the workers receive the biggest a boost had left state government to work on chris christie's reelection campaign,
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then return to higher salaries and new titles. kristy has withheld more than $2.4 billion in payments to new jersey's pension fund, amidst revenue woes. he is considered a top contender for the republican presidential nomination in 2016. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. this week president obama announced he is delaying a review of his administration's controversial deportation practices until after the summer. obama had ordered homeland security secretary jeh johnson to look into ways he could take executive action to scale back deportations after civil rights groups dubbed him the reporter in chief. as congress remains stalled on passing reforms, advocates have called on the president to limit the removal of undocumented immigrants who do not have criminal records, who account for some two thirds of the 2
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million people he has deported. >> the white house says it wants to put off any potential reforms in order to avoid angering house republicans and dooming chances of passing the conference of immigration reform bill this year. but during a hearing on immigration policy thursday, house judiciary committee chairman bob goodlatte, republican of virginia, native clear that they remain highly skeptical of negotiating with the president. >> the obama administration has taken unprecedented and most likely unconstitutional steps in order to shut down the enforcement of our immigration laws for millions of unlawful and criminal aliens not considered high enough "priorities." unfortunately, we can only to evade as's effort its responsibilities to escalate. president obama has asked secretary johnson to perform an inventory of the department's current enforcement practices to see how it can conduct them more
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humanely. these are simply codewords for further ratcheting down enforcement of our immigration laws. >> goodlatte's remarks came as homeland security secretary head jeh johnson testified before the committee, just two days after the white house said it would delay its review of deportation policy. johnson said he remained committed to the effort, when questioned by rep or senator john conyers, democrat of michigan. >> as you complete your review of enforcement practices, will you take a close hard look at who is being targeted to make sure these people who have only immigration status violations are not made priorities? >> yes. prosecutorial discretion is one that has been around for a long time in the criminal code -- justice context
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and this context. and i think with the resources we have from congress, we have to continually reevaluate how best to prioritize who we enforce the laws against. so that would be part of my objective. >> all of this comes as overwhelmed border authorities in south texas set up an emergency shelter at lackland air force base in san antonio to house about 1000 children who were detained while migrating alone. johnson said the crisis had "zoomed to the top of my agenda" after he visited aboard a virtual station where young children were being held am a of whom was just three years old. >> for more we're joined in our new york studio by pablo alvarado, director of the national day laborers organizing network, which has called on obama to take executive action to immediately stop deportations. he was just on capital hill thursday in meetings with lawmakers. welcome back to democracy now! the obamahis news at administration, for fear of antagonizing republicans, will
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not change the policy for now, though they are reviewing it? angry.community is very we believe it doesn't make sense to continue supporting our community for the next three months because of the belief that by doing that we will get immigration reform done. 14t is the logic of the last years and it has not worked out at all. our community is angry and we're going to channel that anger in the most constructive way possible. >> when you say the most constructive way possible, we are now into, what has it been, eight years since the 2006 immigration protest when this issue first really hit the national consciousness? there seems to be very little progress. arguing, let'ss
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not alienate republicans any further, let's wait a little longer. but it doesn't seem that much is accomplished by this slow pace of pressure. an honest seems to me you need some kind of crisis created in the country before both sides will deal with immigration. d.c. forin washington, the last three days. thes speaking with some of legislators and immigrant rights groups that are heavily involved in the fight for immigration reform. and none of those folks could actually tell me that the window of opportunity that exists that was supposed to exist the summer is real or fictitious. none of them could tell us that something is actually going to happen. in what we know for sure is the middle of all of this uncertainty, the president can act now. obviously, immigrant rights
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activists and people who are being harmed by the system are going to escalate their action in the coming months. >> on thursday, "the new york times" ran an editorial headlined "adding delay to immigration failure" saying -- "the new york times" take is quite different from the seiu's position. earlier this week on the union supported obama still a in order to "give the house leadership all of the space they may need to bring legislation to the floor for a vote." they added, if the house failed to vote --
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respond to that. >> well, i don't know who persuaded these organizations to take a stand. we obviously disagree. we believe it is politically wrong and in terms of the law as well, we believe the president can act now. >> when the president acted for the young people being able to stay, was there in august republican backlash? >> not at all. on the contrary. when he acted, it benefited him politically and he helped a lot of people. we are essentially asking him to use the same authority to expand
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daca were possible. we're asking him to lemonade the security program that has caused so much suffering in our -- to eliminate the security program that has cost so much suffering. these are things the president can do and must do now. why do we need to wait for three months? that is thousands of people that are going to be taken away from their loved ones and deported. it doesn't make sense anymore. >> what is happening now, again, it is a replay of the divisions that occurred within the immigration reform movement back in 2006 and the national organizations in washington said am a don't create more problems, let's see if we can get a little further on ahead. and the grassroots organizations said, we can't wait anymore. >> this time around, it is very different. talks in what way? >> in the since our communities are a lot more sophisticated, to the extent there is a division
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is coming from the top-down. from the bottom-up, we are very clear that deportations must stop at this moment. we don't know the motivations of the organizations that signed onto this letter. but i know they are wrong and on the law. i strongly believe that the next letter they're going to be writing is to ask the president to intervene. i predict that is what is going to happen. >> you mentioned secure committed these. during thursday's house judiciary committee hearing, jeh johnson was asked about calls to end the controversial secure communities program. this was his response. >> i don't believe we should scrap secure communities. i believe even the reality of where we are with this program in this country, that we need a fresh start. we have mayors and governors signing executive orders and passing laws that limit our ability to effectively carry out
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this program. and i think the goal of the program is a very worthy one that needs to continue. but it has gotten off to bed messaging, misunderstanding in state and local communities about exactly what it is -- some people think it is a surveillance program. you are right, it is sharing fingerprints the twin one federal agency and another. and i think with clearer guidance and understanding spy mayors and governors, ofmissioners and sheriffs what our priorities are, we can go a long way in improving the administration of this program. >> that is jeh johnson. pablo alvarado, your response? and for people who aren't clear what secure communities is? >> it is a program, not a law. it essentially mandates localities to collaborate with federal agents. local police collaborating with federal agents.
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i don't think secretary johnson is actually reading the news lately because this type of policing has been declared unconstitutional. more mayors and chief of police are coming out and saying, we are not going to comply with these detainer policies, to the extent that things are changing on the ground because people were being harmed by the system are fighting back at the local level. this is only going to escalate in the coming months. ofs is precisely the outcome their inaction. we are going to see more of their stuff -- this stuff. secure communities, it was to make our neighborhoods safer. it hasn't happened. it is the other way around. people don't feel they can call the police for protection. so no one wants to live in neighborhoods where 46% of latinos and 70% of the undocumented doesn't want to call the police. no one wants to live in neighborhoods like that. withprogram was imposed
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lies and deceptions and it has to end. we're going to fight to make sure it ends. >> pablo alvarado, thank you for being with us, director of the national day laborers organizing network. when we come back, we will be joined by aviva chomsky to talk about the history of immigration, with her new book called, "undocumented." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we turn now to a new book that documents how systemic prejudice against mexicans and many other migrant workers has
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been woven into us immigration policies that deny them the same path to citizenship that is long been granted to european immigrants. the book is by aviva chomsky, called, "undocumented: how immigration became illegal." >> her previous book on the topic is, "they take our jobs! and 20 other myths about immigration." of history andr coordinator of latin american studies at salem state university in massachusetts. in case you're wondering, yes, she's the eldest daughter of professor noam chomsky. she is joining us from boston. welcome to democracy now! talk about this history that is not very well understood, i think, in this country. >> i agree that it is not very well understood. we often hear people saying this is a country of immigrants, as if that explains something. i think when we say this is a country of immigrants, we are actually hiding as much as we are explaining. ok, let me try to explain that.
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so this is a country of immigrants. people have in mind ellis island and european immigrants and the people who under u.s. law have been considered immigrants since the founding of the country. we need to think about how immigration and citizenship work together. those are the law considered the grants are potential citizens. citizenship law in the u.s. restricted citizenship to white people until the civil war. after the civil war, it was restricted to white people and people of african descent. those who were immigrants, so prior to the civil war, many people who were not quite were brought into the country, or physically present in the country and came in on their own, were conquered and incorporated into the country, but could not be citizens. they were not considered
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immigrants when they enter the country. the only ones who were were the europeans. after the civil war, not only citizenship extended to people of african descent, none of whom are immigrating to the united states were coming to the united states in the aftermath of centuries of slavery and, finally, the war and abolition of slavery, but other people, for example, the chinese, who are coming into the country, are still not eligible for citizenship. in fact, they're legally defined as racially ineligible for citizenship. what really makes things complicated for immigration law is when citizenship by birth is created with the 14th amendment in 1868, also in the aftermath of the civil war. it creates the sort of logical impossibility that people who have been declared racially ineligible for citizenship, people not considered immigrants even when they come to the country, considered workers but not immigrants, that they can
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then access to citizenship by birth. it is this logical impossibility of people who are legally defined as racially ineligible to citizenship and then because of being physically present, able to obtain immigrant citizenship by birth, that leaves congress to start setting up restrictions on immigration. and restrictions against people who are considered to be racially ineligible to citizenship, that is the chinese and eventually all asians, and asia is probably defined under this law. , in yourchomsky introduction, you refer to a phrase that i've heard often from readers and collars, usually angry, when they say, mr. gonzales, what part of illegal don't you understand? that the the points concept of the legality in terms
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of immigration is actually a relatively new term in american history, and also has changed over time. -- hass use has become always been racialized. could you talk about that? >> absolutely. i think it is part of the same system i was describing before that restricted immigration to white people and citizenship to white people and then started to cut off immigration. but as immigration started to be restricted for groups, including asians and eventually for europeans were considered to be , mexicaneuropeans border crossing was never restricted. mexican border crossing was never restricted because mexican labor was so utterly necessary in the southwest of the united states and because mexicans were not considered immigrants from a therefore, there immigration did not have to be restricted. they were considered to be
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workers, legally is committed against for what were considered racial grounds. that was perfectly legal. to deprive them of citizenship was perfectly legal. and, the system worked from the perspective of maintaining united states is a white country because unlike the asians, generallygration was circular migration. that is, mexicans came, worked for a season or year or a couple of years, and returned to mexico. borderhistory migrations for 150 years was one of circular migration sets were basically either completely unregulated or, for example in 1942 and 1964, extended to 1967, government-sponsored program, but migrations that denied citizenship and denied rights to the mexicans who were in the country. illegalitytion of
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and starting to call this migration illegal happens in 1965, really, when mexican migration is, for the first time, considered to be immigration and is legally restricted, that is, a quota is put on mexican migration as it is on every country of the world . and in a situation where tens of thousands of mexicans have been crossing the border illegally and recruited and sometimes even coerced, every year, all of a sudden, this is made illegal -- isis not stopped, but it given a different name. theead of calling it becerra program, it is called illegal migration. it is still just as necessary to the economy of the southwest and still encouraged by all different sectors, but the discrimination against these workers is now justified by this introduction of this new terminology and status of the
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legality -- illegality. >> and your point is once this new illegality for mexican immigration begins post-1965, that then begins to criminalization of mexicans as migrants. and you draw the parallel in your book with michelle alexander's book on mass incarceration and how the rationalization that occurs -- she calls it in her book "the new jim crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness." >> i think we have become blind in this country to the ways in which we have managed to reinvent a cast like system here in the united states, one that asctions in a manner that is oppressive in many respects as the one that existed in south africa under apartheid and existed under jim crow here in
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the united states, although, our rules and laws are now officially colorblind, they operate to discriminate and a grossly disproportionate fashion through the war on drugs in the getup movement, millions of poor people -- overwhelmingly poor people of color, haven't swept and char nation's prisons and jails are branded colonels and fellows primarily for nonviolent and drug-related crimes host of the very source of crimes that occur with roughly equal frequency and middle-class white neighborhoods and college campuses, but the largely ignored -- but go largely ignored. they're stripped of their many rights supposedly one and the civil rights movement like the right to vote, the right to serve on juries and the right to be free, of legal discrimination in employment of how they access education of public benefits. >> aviva chomsky, you draw
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similar parallels. could you elaborate? >> when you listen to michelle alexander list the legal disabilities that come with a criminal record, they look exactly like the legal disabilities that come to mexicans because of their illegal status. they can't vote or serve on juries and aren't legible for -- eligible for public benefits. when i read her book and heard her speak about this i thought, there is a real parallel here. one part of the parallel is that the dismantling of the jim crow regime as a result of popular mobilization and the civil rights movement goes along with of dismantling of the regime legalized discrimination against mexicans embodied in the program. the idea that we can actually step up and say outright that this is what we are doing, we
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are going to bring in mexican workers and discriminate against them just because they're mexican. you can't do that anymore in the .limate of the 1960's and yet another idea of hers i find so compelling is this idea , and the as a caste creation of a new status for these mexican workers that justifies mistreatment by criminalization, rather than overtly by race like it is ok to discriminate against them just because they are mexican. now we won't call it that, we will tournament criminals and then we can justify discrimination -- we will turn them into criminals and we can justify the discrimination. >> aviva chomsky, you have written several books on immigration. you have written, "they take our jobs! and 20 other myths about immigration." your new book is, "undocumented: how immigration became illegal." what surprised you most in your research for this book? >> i think what surprised me
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most happened before i knew i was writing the book, but one of the things that led me to write the book. i have been working with immigrants really since the early 1980's. but i had never been to the border. some of my friends who work with border organizations down in arizona kept saying, you can't keep talking about immigration without coming to the border. finally in 2010, i took a group of students on a trip with no more deaths, where we worked on the mexican side of the border taking testimonies from people who had been deported to met people who had mostly been picked up in the desert and were dumped on the mexican side of the border. we took their testimonies and heard their stories. the drastic and devastating nature of our immigration policies and their impact on people and really turning the border into what felt like a war zone, but there was no war. these people were displaced and
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uprooted and homeless because of deliberate u.s. policies. >> aviva chomsky, thank you for being with us. her new book is, "undocumented: how immigration became illegal." professor at salem state -- salem state university in massachusetts. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. continueome back, we our discussion about reparations in america. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we end today's show with the second part of our interview with famed essayist ta-nehisi coates talking about his explosive new essay called, "the case for reparations." the 16,000 word article is the cover story for the june issue of the atlantic magazine and is being credited for rekindling a national discussion on reparations for american slavery
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and institutional racism. >> in the piece, ta-nehisi coates exposes how slavery, jim crow segregation, and federally backed housing policy systematically robbed african-americans of their possessions and prevented them from accruing intergenerational wealth. much of it focuses on predatory lending schemes that bilked potential african-american homeowners. we interviewed ta-nehisi coates on thursday. for the first part of our conversation, go to democracynow.org. this is part two. >> one of the things you mentioned in the article, when people speak about racism or white supremacy in this country, they are usually talking about individual acts, for instance, donald sterling and the los angeles clippers and his remarks have gotten widespread attention. but they don't want to talk about any institutional manifestations of racism. you write "it is very hard to
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except white supremacy as a structure erected by actual people as a choice, as an interest, as opposed to all momentary bout of insanity." this goes back to what i was saying earlier, we have this -- our notion of racism is donald sterling, cliven bundy, somebody says something that seems intemperate. we think of it as a matter of the heart. this is why become so explosive to call somebody "racist." you're basically calling them a child molester or something like that. the statements of individuals are largely more symptomatic and they are the source of anything. the thing people have to remember, there is nothing natural about racism as it exists in america. we know this historically. we can look at 1691 africans first came here and how slaves in jamaica pretty discriminately with and injured -- with white
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servants. you see black people and poor people allying and a rebellion. 100 years later for some reason, that would not happen. laws, look at the actual what we call black in america today is a matter of laws, laws that were passed to enforce slavery. what we call black her today is not what folks call black in brazil or necessarily what people would call black in the louisiana 100 years ago. things change. it is a manifestation of a done thing and that has profound consequences. if we can understand it as a structural thing, as a matter of policies as opposed to some intemperate remarks summit he made as a result of those policies. then i think we would be in a much better place. >> one of the people you write about is at the weatherspoon. she has owned her own home in the north neighborhood of chicago for half a century. in the video accompanying your piece, she explains how she bought her house on contract.
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in 1957.d in his house it was mostly a wide area. niggers areay the coming. they did not say black, they said the niggers was coming. they just of moving away. mostly everyone that was black have been sold a contract. in threessed a payment months, they could take your property back. no lawyer, no nothing could help you. that was it. >> talk about ethel weatherspoon and this -- what you talk about is institutional racism, ta-nehisi coates, what happens in housing. >> gladly. asks me about mr. ross and i'm so happy to talk about mrs. weatherspoon. i wanted to include her story because when we talk about african-americans who live in
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neighborhoods like north lawndale, there's a kind of traditional narrative out there that these folks have fallen into cultural pathologies, if they would just get married and act right, everything would be ok. mrs. weatherspoon was married for many, many years, had kids and her kids are doing well. she is a homeowner. very responsible citizen of chicago, and yet she lives in north lawndale, neighborhood in terms of any socioeconomic indicators, on the wrong and in terms of chicago. one of the most provocative things about her story and how she came up and how much work she put in it, and the factual is able to hold on to her home in that situation, puts a lie to the myth that african-americans to act right, who are respectable, you know, are somehow therefore immune to the plunder that is symptomatic of white supremacy in this country. it does not matter. there is no bettering yourself that will get you out of this. there is no immunity for black
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people who get married or go to church every sunday or black people who hold jobs. the people i profile in this article or some of the most hard-working americans you would ever want to meet, yet they were exploited anyway. >> throughout the 1950's and 1960's, the federal government basically helped to finance the wealth gathering of most mortgages andha build the suburbs of most american cities. talk about that as a federal didcy and why it basically not work in terms of african-americans. >> one of the problems that we have -- and i think this goes beyond discussion of white supremacy and racism, but the myth of individualism in this country as the people just walked out to the suburbs supplanted stakes and the suburbs just bloomed from nowhere. the suburbs are federal policy. in the 1930's and 1940's, we set up the fha and the home owners
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loan corporation. we set up specific euros to make our communities look the way they look. in 1995, i took a trip to chicago as an adult and i was writing down the dan ryan expressway. at that time it was the longest road projects of public housing i think in north america along that corridor. what i did not understand at that time was this was planned. african-americans have been cut out of any sort of legitimate theing program during 1930's, 1940's, 1950's. instead we got public housing based on a segregated basis at that point -- in that particular case, on the southside of chicago. there's no way to understand housing as it exists today without federal policy. like people -- black people could not be responsible homeowners with the thought of the time. the fha drew up the redlining that distributed -- i'm sorry, the homeowner corporation, and the distributed to banks to
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determine how they would lend and who they would lend to. the racism was pervasive and total. the fact african-americans have been cut out of it is not shocking if you understand what the country was in the 1930's and 1940's. homes are how people in america build wealth, largely. if you cut black people out of that opportunity, a lot is explained about what the african-american community looks like today. >> ta-nehisi coates, you write in this remarkable piece, when progressive wish to express their disappointment with barack obama, they point to the a congressman suffering from roosevelt of these progress or's rarely note that roosevelt's new deal, much like the democracy that produced it, rested on the foundation of jim crow. you have been talking about housing, but also social security, g.i. benefits, and how they have failed african-americans. >> the sad truth, like my politics are pretty obvious,
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like any other progressive or liberal for years, i was particularly proud of the roosevelt era and would often look act nostalgically at the g.i. bill, sosa security, basically the direction of the safety net in america. it when you look at how that was built, a professor in columbia has done great work on this in his books. what he basically shows is the way that was made possible was an alliance between northern democrats and southern democrats. southern democrats had no problem with erecting a social safety net as long as it to be one that would benefit white and not upset white supremacy or the southern way of life, as they put it on at the time. amocrats in the north wanting deal, some of them racist and some of them not, willing to go along with that, regrettably. as social security was written at the time, you could not just outright say, like people can't get this. what they did was excluded
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domestic workers and agricultural workers. in the south, that was a broad swath of african-americans. sosa security excluded something like 65% of african-americans in this country, and 85% in the south. in the case of g.i. bill, african-americans in the south if you're a veteran, would have to deal with some southern veteran affairs officer. you can just imagine about how well you would fare in that case. >> i want to ask you about the role of the contemporary banks. we now know from a lot of reports that have come out recently that one of the biggest banks in the country, wells fargo, had in emerging markets unit that specifically targeted black churches and the black communities for predatory loans. and now is the government is trying to make settlements with a lot of these banks, there doesn't seem to be a targeted compensation to those who are most victimized.
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just a general sense that the banks will pay a certain amount to a state prosecution. >> right, right, right. there was the class-action that i think that some of that, but my greatest concern is the root problem of this, which is segregation -- wells fargo had a marketing incentive to do what they did. it was created by as many years ago. even today ash it is not a mistake. they were able to get the memos. you see them describing their customers as much people, black people as much people, get a loans. this is proven in the research. even after you balance for income and credit worthiness and the wealth, african-americans were still targeted. it was not just a matter of them being poor or working-class and therefore -- it was specifically because they were black. that makes sense if you understand segregation and yet this population of people right here. basically, our housing policies of the past made the platters of today to be efficient.
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plunders of today to be efficient. there is no new policy to guarantee that 20 years from now this won't happen again. that is really where the call for reparations comes in. what are we going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again? >> ta-nehisi coates, you write a black family that may make $100,000 typically lives in a neighborhood of white families taking $30,000. -- making $30,000. >> any times pundits and intellectual writers will try to do things like look at a black family and try to control for income. control forn wealth. there's a great deal of sociology going on right now that demonstrates what is called a neighborhood effect. that means it doesn't make sense to look at an african-american family or white family in isolation. people are largely reflected of communities they live in. because of our housing policies, increasing income for
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that isn'tricans, enough. you have to be able to take that income and invested somewhere, and a house in this case, and hope to have some return. african-americans are uniquely trapped in particular neighborhoods in this country. those neighborhoods tend to be higher poverty. when you look at their income and compared to white income from and therefore, suffer all the ills that impoverished never but it's suffer. -- impoverished neighborhoods suffer. when you look at the condition of $30,000, it clarifies a lot. >> can you talk about how reparations might work in practical terms here in the united states? >> yeah, there are many schemes out there right now. the most obvious one is just mail a check. calculate a number and divide it the number of african-americans, and mail the check. that is often joked about. maybe that will be the right thing. harvardr ogletree at
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has something more systemic and a little more widespread and that is, reinvigoration of the idea of erecting a stronger social safety net. policies that may not necessarily just benefit african-americans, the policies that may disproportionately affect african-americans. i think should we ever live in a world where reparations -- what you would likely see some sort , some sort the two of targeted policy at african-americans along with some broader policies also. but i think the rhetorical point of understanding that this is part of an ancient that we have incurred, is really important. one brief example if i may, president obama, when people wanted to criticize the affordable care act, they would often say, this is reparations. liberals are saying, no, no, this will benefit everybody.
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and a just world we would say, yes, this does disproportionately felt like people, and that is a good thing. because for most of our history, we have disproportionately injured black people. >> interestingly, ta-nehisi coates, in the first part of our conversation when you explained the part of your piece in the case of reparations about how germany has given reparations to israel, it is not only the state of israel. germany had to make reparations, billions of dollars, to holocaust survivors individually wherever they lived, and our many in the united states. but i want to ask you, you have not always been for reparations. what changed your mind? and talk about what surprised you most in doing this massive piece that you did for the atlantic. >> two things changed my mind. the biggest thing is just understanding more. that is the first thing. the first thing is to understand
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america isn't a country that just had a little bit of slavery. ancillary tot understanding america. you cannot understand american history without understanding slavery. and that really became clarifies for me as i began to do my research and do my understanding. to clarify what i mean by that, in 1860 when we launch into the deadliest war in our history, 60% of our profits derived from cotton. slaves as a whole comprised the largest individual particular asset and all of america at the time of the civil war. the region with the largest per capita millionaires in the country was the mississippi valley. when you talk about a source of you'reor that level, talking about a big, big, big, big piece of american history and a big, big ease of how we became america -- understanding slavery was itself not ancillary, but central to
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understanding what a miracle was . and in understanding what policies we passed in the 100 years after that that reflected -- they continue to injure african-americans. a lot of things became clear to me. >> and your judgment, at this stage and the presidency of barack obama, first african-american president, his willingness to tackle some of these issues or the ramifications of which in the theory behind which he clearly understands? >> yes, yes. it is funny, the pitch no one was first putting this together, at the time i said, maybe barack obama should say something about this. you should say absolutely anything about it. i think the president is in a unique position as the first african-american president in a shrink the amount of things he can he cannot say. that does not mean one should not be critical. i deftly have been critical. i think some of his references
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are deeply misguided and erroneous and wrong. having said that, it is not my expectation that president obama will come out tomorrow and support reparations. and i don't even think that is the way it should work. if anything, my hope would be that, a, other writers will take this on and will just look at it from a housing perspective, the criminal justice perspective, which is another way think this article could be written from a from an education perspective, health care -- all sorts of ways you can look at the dynamic of reparations. then after that, that we will have some sort of groundswell in the country that will build of a movement. pressure.s respond to i think that is what needs to happen. this is all along, long fight, not something that is supposed to be won next year even before barack obama leaves next year. >> ta-nehisi coates, "the case for reparations." part one of our interview with him is on democracynow.org. that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed
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